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MSU senior volunteer program begins opioid abuse prevention program

logo: RSVP logoMorehead State University Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) received a Senior Corps RSVP grant of $103,767 from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to support volunteers serving in Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Greenup and Lawrence counties.

The funds were awarded as part of a Senior Corps grant competition to expand RSVP to new geographic areas. MSU RSVP currently serves Bath, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan and Rowan counties. 

As part of this grant’s mission, MSU’s RSVP has partnered with Lawrence County Schools to provide curriculum and volunteers to implement an opioid abuse prevention program for 3rd through 8th grade students. To assist Lawrence County Schools with their goal of implementing the program this school year, a training will take place at Lawrence County Middle School on Jan. 23. The training will prepare volunteers for the implementation of the program in health classes.

“The Lawrence County Board of Education set forth an expectation that we increase our efforts in educating children about drug abuse prevention. This partnership not only allows us to meet that expectation but also provides our teachers with valuable resources. We are very excited about this opportunity,” said Lawrence County Schools Superintendent Robbie Fletcher.

“We are excited to be able to provide and help implement in the Lawrence County Schools an opioid prevention program. Statistics show that teaching prevention is the key to stopping the spread of opioid abuse,” said Teresa Judd, RSVP project director.

Established in 1971, RSVP engages Americans age 55 and older in citizen service that addresses the nation’s most pressing challenges -- everything from fighting the opioid epidemic, reducing crime and reviving cities, connecting veterans to jobs and benefits, preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs, ensuring seniors age independently and with dignity, and help Americans rebuild their lives following a disaster.

While serving, RSVP volunteers also improve their own lives, staying active and healthy through service. A growing body of research points to mental and physical health benefits associated with volunteering, including lower mortality rates, increased strength and energy, decreased rates of depression, and fewer physical limitations.

In 2016, more than 208,000 Senior Corps RSVP volunteers served in communities across the country. Through community and faith-based organizations, RSVP volunteers served more than 300,000 veterans, mentored more than 78,000 children, and provided independent living services to more than 797,000 older adults.

According to the annual Volunteering and Civic Life in America report by CNCS, more than 21 million Americans 55+ contributed more than 3.3 billion hours of service in their communities. Based on the Independent Sector's estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour, their collective service provides a yearly economic benefit valued at $78 billion.

Additional information on the organization or how volunteers can sign up, contact Judd at 606-783-5124 or visit
Pictured above: RSVP staff and Lawrence County school officials announced the new program on Dec. 18. Front row, from left, Dr. Robbie Fletcher, Lawrence County superintendent; D. Heath Preston, board chair; Garnett Skaggs, vice chair; Maddlene Roberts, board member; James See, board member; and Barbara Robinson, board member. Second row, from left, Teresa Judd, RSVP director; Justin Slone, RSVP associate director; Betty Mullins, district resource teacher; and Dr. Cassandra Webb, chief academic officer.